Fonolo: because your customers are trying to tell you something

Spoken | August 9, 2016

Howardlee by Howard Lee, CEO of Spoken CommunicationsFonolo logo

Fonolo is a new  application that deals with an issue close to consumers’ hearts: navigating frustrating, complicated IVRs and phone trees. The simple site asks consumers: Hate phone trees? You’ll love Fonolo! and gives netizens the chance to dial over 500 North American companies directly by mouse click rather than IVR or phone tree. ReadWriteWeb calls Fonolo “dead easy to use” to get to just the department/menu area that you want.

As a creator of IVR systems and software solutions that enable those self-service systems to work, seeing that there is a need for an application like this makes me shake my head.

The truth is that those 500 companies have got to get a grip on access to information via the phone.  When their customers start using applications like Fonolo, you know that many of these companies have the wrong attitude–and the wrong phone system. They should be making it easier, not more difficult to get a hold of someone – the right person the first time rather than the endless loops of the voice menu trees. 

I’m not knocking Fonolo. Just the opposite. When apps like this are the only solution to badly-designed phone trees and IVRs, it begins to seem that people have acquire tools to get basic customer service.  That’s just wrong. The phone should be enough to access the people you want.

Has customer service come down to this, where customers feel that they need “weapons” (a.k.a. tools) to get basic customer service?  It isn’t the technology Fonolo has created that should bother companies; it’s that an application like Fonolo exists because companies can’t get their IVRs right and working. 

My call to action: everyone from the CEO on down needs to pay attention to their IVRs so customers don’t get frustrated. Customers deserve a great experience in all aspects of the service, including the IVR. Keeping in touch with your customers’ needs will pay off in the end.

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